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As health care continues to evolve rapidly, so will the physical therapy profession and the ways students are educated. What will physical therapist education look like in 10 or 20 years? Experts weigh in.

Future of Physical Therapy

The year is 2025. A surgeon has performed a total hip replacement on a patient. As the patient is taken to recovery, the next steps in his recovery are discussed by his health care team: a physician, a nurse, a physical therapist (PT), an occupational therapist (OT), a pharmacist, and a psychologist. The focus now will be on recovery and movement. "My work with Mr Smith is done," says the surgeon while looking at the physical therapist. "You take it from here." The physical therapist looks at her team, steps into the leadership position, and says, "Let's gauge his recovery. Then I want to set up a schedule for physical therapy and other interventions to get him up and discharged as soon as appropriate."

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  1. Nelson RM. The Next Evolution.Phys Ther. Oct 2013;93(10):1415-1424.
  2. Duffy TP. The Flexner Report—100 Years Later. Yale J Biol Med. Sep 2011;84(3):269–276.
  3. Kulig K. Residency Education in Every Town: Is It Just So Simple? Phys Ther. Jan 2014;94(1):151-161.

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